Why I use a Punkrax on my Ford Raptor

I get it… I’m one of those cringy Raptor ‘bros’. But I don’t drive a mall crawler, and I don’t go to any malls. I only bought it to make getting from my house to the trails as fast as possible. I only get a few hours a day to ride my bike and dang it, I want to maximize my time on the trail, not creeping up a dirt road to the trailhead.

I’ve been big into Downhill & Freeride mountain biking for almost 20 years, but the one thing that has always been sketchy (at best) was shuttling. If there was dirt, I’d go as fast as I could because 1. time and 2. it was FUN. Did I lose bikes off the top of my little Acura Integra a few times? Maybe… Do my friends' bikes have scratches on the top tube from bouncing on the hitch rack of my Toaster? Maybe…. (03 Honda Element… I still miss that car sometimes)

It started with my old college Acura. I was in a light drift around a gravelly corner with my (now) wife and I’s bikes on the roof when we heard a ‘pop’. We watched our bikes go sliding off the roof into the brush on the side of the canyon road. After sitting in the dirt for an hour and trying to install a (now broken) roof rack, she said “Dude. You need a truck.” 

So it began. I sold the Acura and started getting vehicles that could go faster and faster offroad. Again, the faster I got to the trails, the more riding time I got. But the big downside was still my bike; it was always at the whim of whatever contraption I had in the back to keep my bike from getting destroyed by the shuttle. I could only commit to 50% of my speed whenever I had a bike in the back.

By 2019 I had saved my pennies for over a year and, what is still one of the happiest days of my life, bought a decently used 2017 Ford F150. I didn’t know what it was like to have a nice vehicle, and it was life changing. 

I slowly started changing it to be faster and faster offroad. Bilstein suspension kit, aftermarket intake, tuner, etc. I had become the very truck nerd I swore to destroy. But once again, it maximized ride time, and it was finally FUN to get to the trailhead! I wasn’t terrified of breaking down. But there was one thing that was still in the back of my mind… NOT destroying my bike. It made me nervous; so nervous that I couldn’t go above 60% of my driving confidence with my rack situation. Not quite where I wanted to be.

Then it happened. (Don’t worry, this part of the story will come full circle) My wife and I can’t have kids. We’re what you call DINK’s (Dual Income No Kids). The truck market exploded in 2021, and my wife said “You can probably sell your truck for a premium right now, I know you’ve always wanted a Raptor. What about living some dreams?” It was time. We made it happen. My dreams finally came true, and our first child was born: a 2018 Ford Raptor.

I wasn’t about to let my bike hurt my baby. I started looking EVERYWHERE for something to carry my bikes that wouldn’t hurt them OR my truck. That’s when I found PunkRax. Not only did it save my bikes from bouncing around, it looked GOOD. It matched the styling of my truck, and it ACTUALLY WORKED. 

I still remember my first drive with the PunkRax: I have this trail system I ride that has a FAST dirt road to get to it, and there’s NOBODY out there. Half way down this dirt road is a cattle guard that I hadn’t dared hit above 50 mph. But today was different. I had this stupid grin on my face and thought ‘well, should I try this thing out?’ 70mph straight over the cattle guard. THE BIKE DIDN’T MOVE. I couldn’t believe it. The rest of the drive I was driving as if there wasn’t a bike in the back. I was so happy, and I hadn’t even gotten on my bike yet. What a day.

And everyday has been just as good since. I don’t worry any more. I don’t think about what scratches my bike is going to have. I just drive. As fast as I can. And that’s why I use a PunkRax. And I can’t go back.

S. Petersen

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